GiS Podcast Episode 5 – 9 Geeky Gateway Activities to Get You Fit

We geeks have an unfortunate dilemma when attempting to go from geek to super awesome fitness geek of infinite power.

Our hobbies — gaming, coding, reading, correcting people on the internet — tend to be measured in hours and days of time commitment and normally involve some sort of social commitment as well — guild raiding, project deadlines, book club meetings, a lot of dumb people on the internet that need to be corrected. Adding a new heavy time commitment like proper nutrition and exercise seems like an impossible thing to do with all of our other interests and commitments.

But there is always time for health and fitness,  and you don’t  have to leave your geeky hobbies behind. There are so many ways to merge fitness into your geeky lifestyle and incorporate your geeky lifestyle into fitness. And that is exactly what this list is intended to help you out with.

 

This podcast is an audio version of a guest post I did over on NerdFitness.com.  For the full text and all of the juicy links, please go visit there. There is also a ton of good comments and suggestions that you should check out.

In other news… Hell has frozen over, because I posted a new podcast! Sorry for the delay in getting a new episode out. I hope my inconsistency doesn’t come across as apathy. I appreciate everyone who takes the time to listen, sends me emails, posts a comment, or writes a review.  Thanks for listening, and I hope to bring you more episodes soon!

Come on baby, it’s my birthday!

Photo courtesy of Christophe Verdier

Well folks, today is my 28th birthday, and I have never felt better about getting older.

Just a few facts about this year.

  • I became a father of two, Hudson was born in November.
  • I gained 15 pounds this year (sympathy weight from my wife’s pregnancy).
  • I lost 30 pounds this year (against all sleepless-night odds)
  • I can now run a 5K (though I haven’t done an official 5K)

But the biggest thing this year has been my change in mindset

I really feel I have broken that weight roller coaster that I have been on.  The last six months have been the longest period of sustained weight loss I’ve ever had.  I have changed my thought process of weight loss and dieting. I have squashed some bad habits and started some good ones.  I have re-started this blog, which has been a big help. And I have found a good support community online (twitter and the Nerd Fitness Forums).

Even though I’m a year older, I feel better than I did ten years ago. I exercise more, I eat better, I’m more content, and I’m not hung over 80% of the time.

I’m really looking forward to what my 28th year of life will bring.

**UPDATE!** As I mentioned earlier this month, I am only asking for healthy presents. Nothing that will distract me from my goals, only help them.  So here are the results! Thanks to my wife and the parents.

More pictures are posted over on my wife’s family blog, check them out if you are interested in seeing pictures of my cute kids!

In other news…

Check out my guest post on Nerd Fitness

In case you missed it, I had a guest post published on Nerd Fitness this week. It highlights 9 different sports and activities that allow you to be a geek while still getting a good workout in.  It was fun!  I like interacting with a new audience and Steve over at NF has definitely done a good job building a community up.

Geek Into Shape Podcast

If you are reading this, then you are probably aware that I just launched a podcast.  I am really excited to keep working on this project.  As a huge podcast nerd, I love the audio medium as a way to spread news, tips, and advice.  I hope to deliver some high quality and content-packed bits of information over the next few months.

So subscribe to the podcast feed or check it out on iTunes if you want to get the latest episode direct to your audio listening device.

One thing I am looking to do with this podcast is make it a community effort, so if you have any questions, suggestions, ideas for a segment, or would like to send in a segment of your own, please contact me.

Future Posts

As always, I am working on other more posts for this blog, so stay tuned!

Geek Into Shape Podcast Episode 1: A Hero’s Origin.

Well, it is here, the first episode of the Geek Into Shape podcast! The goal of this podcast is to give you quick tips, advice, and motivation to get you fit, GEEK STYLE! Each episode should be short, between 5 and 15 minutes. I plan on starting with some solo podcasts, and I will hopefully add in interviews and videos as I go. Like this blog, I am doing this purely for fun, experience, and to help others, so I don’t expect me to be Johnny on the spot every week, but I will try not to go more than a few weeks without a new episode.

I am brand, spanking new to this whole podcast producing thing, so the audio quality isn’t the best, but I hope to explore and learn as I go and always improve it.  Let me know if you know any good tips!

 

I will get the feeds submitted to iTunes soon, but until then, you can subscribe manually if you like using this feed.

UPDATE: iTunes page is now up!

Episode 1 Show Notes and Overview:

Six Steps to get started on your fitness journey:

Step 1: Know your past – Make a list of the things that led you to the unhealthy point you are today.

Step 2: Discover Your Powers – Take a fitness assessment: President’s Challenge Adult Fitness Test. Take critical measurements: Weight, height, waiste size, arm size, leg size, BMIBody Fat %Lean Body Mass

Step 3: Set Your Goals and Build an Attack Plan – Make a list of all goals. Start by attacking the most attainable goals first.

Step 4. Gear Up – Make a home gym or get a gym membership.

Step 5. Build your alliance – Get gym buddies, online support, etc.

Step 6: Monitor the battle – Start a fitness journal.

A Geek’s Guide to Going to the Gym

Hello, my name is George, and I am a nerd. As you might have already guessed, I look like I belong in a gym.  I fit right in. Me and muscles over there… tight. That bar thingie with the circles on it, got it under control. The girl with the tight booty shorts, oh yeah, she was looking at me doing my hip thrusts.  Oh I forgot, I’m a liar.

I have always kept my distance from gyms in the past, but in my grand plan of being a sexy bitch, I needed to step up my workouts. So, I recently signed up for a two week trial to a gym, and let me tell you, gyms are hard to walk into as  an overweight semi-geek type. I never had an issue in high school with the whole geek vs. jock shenanigans, but the whole concept of a gym reminds me of that stereotypical divide.  Muscle bound dudes. Super fit aerobics instructors. People with tans. I am not a shy person by most standards, but I was definitely a little intimidated my first time stepping through the gym doors.  I can see how a lot of people have bad gym anxiety.

However, a gym provides so much benefit, so sometimes we have to just suck it up.  And that is exactly what I did, and so far it has worked out great.

So, since I have recently been through the process of getting into gym mode, I thought I would share some tips that helped me ease the transition from couch and office chair to step class and weight bench, both mentally and physically.

Step 1: Get your mind right

You can’t begin to take advantage of the gym until you get over (or at least bury deep inside) any gym anxiety you may have.  Here are some small things that helped me:

Realize that people in the gym look the way they do because they go to the gym. A good number of the people that go to the gym are already in a maintenance mode, and are exercising at a rate in accordance with their fitness level. This makes it hard Joe McFlabbybelly, who is 30+ pounds away from his goals and gets winded from pouring milk into his Lucky Charms, to feel at home in a gym.

You have to start somewhere.

Just realize that you are on the right path.  Sooner than you think, you are going to being that guy/gal you see throwing up dumbbells that are bigger than your head. Just stick with it.

Nerd out on research and bring the knowledge! Would you start a new software project written in a new programming language without going through the quick-start guide, multiple tutorials, and a few screencasts? Would you dive right into a raid without looking at boss abilities, discussing strategy, and doing a ready check? Sure, if you expect to wipe. The correct answer is:  No!

One thing that I think all of us geeks have in common is our insatiable curiosity and our ability to gather as much knowledge as possible to be prepared for whatever it is we are obsessing over at the moment. The same applies to the gym.  Make goals and research how to meet those goals. Come to the gym prepared. Know what classes you want to take, what workouts you are going to do, and come with a purpose.

Don’t cause yourself to crash and burn just because you don’t know what to expect.


Step 2: Equip the right gear

Since I don’t know what level of geek you are, I will not assume that you know not to wear your storm trooper outfit to the gym.  So no storm trooper outfits. But don’t let that prevent you from showing your geeky side while whipping your ass into shape.

Embrace your geekiness in the gym! Don’t be afraid or ashamed to stick out from the crowd.  While most people at the gym are wearing their MMA Tapout shirts or skin tight Under Armor gear, I proudly wear my Nerds 2^2 Ever shirt to the gym.  I embrace my horn-rimmed glasses that fog up when I get sweaty.  I enjoy stripping down to my whitey-tighties in the locker room… Ok, not that last one. But seriously, don’t be afraid to let your geek flag fly in the gym, our t-shirts are way funnier than their t-shirts, and chicks dig funny t-shirts.

Make gym time your geek news time with podcasts. I assume, like me, you have blogs you read to keep up on the latest tech trends or the latest news to your favorite game(s). Well, lucky for you, someone probably produces a podcast that hits all of the major tech, gaming, political, woodworking, or Local Causal and Markov Blanket Induction for Causal Discovery and Feature Selection for Classification news your heart desires.  The last one might be hard to find, but the others are definitely covered!  So load up your MP3 player of choice with some great news podcasts and make gym time learning time as well.

Step 3: Crawl, Walk, Run

When going to the gym for the first time in a while (or ever), you are bound to get sore. But never use that as an excuse to stop going to the gym. Start somewhat easy (don’t be a wuss, though) and plan on being sore the first few times back.  If you aren’t sore, you’re probably taking it too easy and need to step it up (remember when I called you a wuss about a sentence ago?).

The burn says its working. Plan for the inevitable muscle soreness that will follow your first few workouts.  Don’t plan any major physical activities the first few days after your first trip to the gym.  My first day at the gym resulted in 3 days of pretty bad muscle soreness.  Unfortunately, not much can be done for muscle soreness.  The best thing that helped me was going for long walks to keep my muscles warm and light stretching. Take the pain lightly and don’t let it dissuade you from going back to the gym.  While it sucks, it means that your body healing itself to prepare you better for the next time.  After a few weeks, your muscles won’t be as sore after each workout, so you can hit the gym hard after that. You can even treat the pain as an immediate result from your workouts… you may not see the results right away, but you can sure as hell feel them.

Step 4: Give me a ‘C’! Give me an ‘O’! Give me a ‘NSISTENCY’!

(I ran out of header room)

Grind out reputation with your gym’s faction. Make sure you take advantage of the gym. Take extra time to get to know the gym common folk.  Make sure you know where to find a good mead (protein shake). Know how to find your (aerobics) class trainer. Know how to get to the the local smith (machine) to help craft your armor (muscles).   Use the chat channels (your mouth) to make new friends (friends). Do your gym dailies and grind your way from Neutral to Friendly and beyond. Keep at it, the rewards are well worth the daily grind.

Step 5: Have Fun!

The end goal is to get fit, but you have to have fun doing it. Treat the gym as a fun place to get fit and meet new people who are trying to (or already have) achieve the same goals. If you genuinely don’t like it, stop going… Remember that a gym is just one of many methods to reach your goals.

Hopefully these thoughts and tips might ease your transition into the gym… it did mine.

George

Podrunner: Intervals

I’m back into running and I kicked it off by getting ready for a local 5K.  One of the tools I’ve been using lately are the mixes from DJ BeatsmithPodrunner: Intervals.

There are 3 different sets of mp3 files for your consumption: 5K, 8K, and 10K.  Each set builds upon the previous and gradually works you up to running the full distance non-stop.  The 5K complements the very popular Couch to 5K program.  Each set contains a collection of mp3 files to progress you through the weeks of training.

I’m really enjoying training with these mixes because they do a few things in my brain.  First, they have a good beat per minute (bpm) that helps keep pace for the distance you are training for.  Second, the techo music is very trance like for me.  It’s very easy for my mind to slip into oblivion and forget what I’m doing and what is happening in the world around me.

I’m not a techo guy at all.  You wouldn’t catch me listening to this stuff for entertainment.  I’m very much a hard rock fellow, so please don’t knock it before you try it.  All you have to do is forget everything you know for a little bit and run to the beat.  There are audio queues in the mix to let you know when to slow down and when to speed up.  The bpm will change after the audio queue to keep you on track.  It’s that easy!

George’s Fitness Podcast Pick of the Month

I am always listening to podcasts.  Driving, working, cleaning, exercising, all the time.  It drives my wife nuts, but I find so much useful information about anything and everything by flipping off the TV and putting in those little white ear buds.  One thing I am new to, though, is fitness podcasts.  And there are a bunch of them out there.  Some, I have found helpful and interesting.  Other can be boring and useless.  I have been sifting through a bunch of them recently and thought I would let you know about the ones that are climbing to the top of my “must listen to” list.  And of the ones I review each month, I will pick my favorite one so that ye with little time will always be able to trim down your playlist and only listen to the best.  So enough with this introduction rubbish. On to the reviews!

My Pick: Being Healthy for Busy People

(Review based on Episode 9)

This podcast rocked!  I had to listen at this podcast just for the title; try to find geek that isn’t busy (and I do consider playing Lord of the Rings Online “busy work”).  The funny thing was, the episode I listened to wasn’t even about being busy.  It was about the health benefits (and decrements) of tea, coffee, and Venti Carmel Mochas with extra whip cream.  This really hit close to home since I am a café junkie.   The information provided was detailed and very well researched.   Yet it remained very concise, understandable, and helpful.  But most importantly, this one little 20 minute show actually motivated me to start changing one of my habits by providing me with all the facts and options I need to know to do so.  I was so impressed by Episode 9 that I downloaded and listened to all of the episodes.  This podcast seems really seemed to hit all the high points for me and I strongly suggest it for everyone else.

Other Reviews This Month:

Motivation to Move (Review based on Episode 161)

I enjoyed this podcast.   It was light, upbeat, and knowledgeable.  They sure have been doing it for a while, seeing that they are on episode 161.  The length is good: only 30 minutes.  Long enough to have in depth topics, but short enough to listen to on the commute to work or walk to the store.  The website seems to have a big community as well.  It did, however, have some cheesy, “self-help” style music playing in the background.  That always drives me nuts.  This was a good podcast, but it wasn’t great.  If you are dedicated to fitness podcasts or have a lot of time, I say listen away because this was a good show.  I personally have plenty of other podcasts on my play list that I would listen to first, and this one would probably fall into the “Mark as not new” category.  I do plan to listen to a few more episodes, and I’ll let you know if I have a change of heart.

Nutrition Diva’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Eating Well and Feeling Fabulous (Review based on Episode 7)

I love the whole Quick and Dirty Tips line of podcasts.  I think they have the perfect format for a podcast.  They all take one topic or user question a week and provides a 5-7 minute tip.  The Nutrition Diva is one of their more recent additions to the lineup.  The host seems knowledgeable and professional.  The episode I listened to wasn’t necessarily the best podcast I have ever heard, but, hey, it only took 5 minutes out of my day (and those were just audible minutes)!  Even though this specific episode wasn’t anything special, I am biased to the overall quality of QaDT productions, so I have added this to my subscriptions.  Hopefully I’ll have better things to say in the future.

And that’s it for Septembers reviews.  If you have agree or disagree with anything I have said, please leave some comments.  Also tell me if you have any other podcasts that you enjoy.  Next month, I plan to look at podcasts featuring workout music, which should be fun since I really don’t like electronica, and that is what all fitness music podcasts play.  Have a great week and remember to stay active!